4. Childhood

4.1 Reason for Hot-Bloodedness

Mother’s milk has an extraordinary effect on the nurturing of children and the effects remain from the cradle till the grave. Only fourteen months had passed from his birth that his younger brother Akbar Ali was born. In view of his honourable mother’s milk not being sufficient for two children a milking-mother was hired for him. She was a butcher’s wife from a village in the district of Meerath. Consequently, he was brought up with her milk.

No work of the Omnipotent is without reason. Being taken off the milk of loving-care of the mother after fourteen months and thereafter arranging with a butcher’s wife for his milk was not without reason. As the Omnipotent was to utilize him for the reformation of the Ummat for which at times, together with softness there is a need for hotness, therefore, in childhood he had to drink the milk of a butcher’s wife. The hotness in his disposition was a result of this. Often he would thus say humorously:
“I drank the milk of a qasaain. For this reason I am hot-blooded. However, Al-Hamdulillah, my heart is so soft that I cannot bear to see anyone in the slightest of difficulty. If I see someone in the slightest of difficulty my heart melts and turns to liquid.”

In view of the natural relationship [with the milk-mother] and in ittibaa’ [obedience] to the Sunnat he went to great lengths to ascertain the whereabouts of his milk-mother’s offspring so as to see to their needs. Their whereabouts, however, could not be ascertained.

4.2 Virtue over Brother

He was just five years of age when his mother passed away and he became deprived of his mother’s loving-care. After his mother passed away he started living with his father’s elder sister.

His father loved him even more than what he loved the mother of Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi. Due to excessive affection he brought him up very gracefully. In spite of his father being stern, he dealt with Hazrat Thanwi very leniently. Even if he would be naughty, very seldom would his father spank him. Once his paternal aunt lodged a complaint to his father of this preferential treatment to which his father replied:
“Bhabi Sahibah! In the first instance the younger one teaches the older one naughtiness. Secondly, the older one learns his sabaq, for this reason I love him more. And the younger does not learn his sabaq.”

Hazrat Thanwi would say himself:
“Very seldom would I receive hiding. And rarely did I get hiding from Ustaads; almost zero. The reason was that I would learn my sabaq and I would remain with adab.”